U of T’s Varsity Blues women’s soccer team comfortably won their first eliminatory round playoff match 2-0 against the Laurentian Voyageurs courtesy of goals by Kristian Kletke and Nicki Parkes.
The game began with a few chances by Claudia Piazza, the team’s current top scorer, and the Blues squad.
Laurentian suffered an early blow after a serious elbow injury to Amy Fitzgerald forced her to leave the game.
At the 26-minute mark, Piazza delivered a corner kick straight to an unmarked Kristian Kletke, who wasted no time in sending a header into the back of the net. Laurentian goalie Michele Greenwood did not have the slightest chance of parrying the ball away.
Alyssa Golin made a darting run down the right wing in the 33rd minute and quickly passed the ball to Piazza, who took one touch and fired a quick shot, only to be denied by some good goalkeeping from Greenwood.
Laurentian’s Alexandra Ross made a rash challenge on Piazza before the break to go straight into the referee’s book.
In the last minute of the half, Claudia Piazza made a terrific run down the right wing and managed to get an early cross to Nicki Parkes, whose volley hit the underside of the crossbar.
At halftime, U of T was up 1-0 and retained most of the possession. Their defence had barely been tested thanks to wide midfield domination. They did, however, lack sharpness in front of goal.
If the first half provided the crowd with some entertaining attacking soccer, the second was dreary by comparison.
Parkes started the second half with what looked like a hamstring injury, but was deemed fit to play.
Laurentian seemed to be a more solid side in the second half. They managed to create a few set pieces, none of which could threaten the Blues’ goal.
“We got a deserved win today in which we absolutely dominated the first half,” said Coach Stuart Neely. “We played some fantastic football, grabbed a goal, but I was disappointed that we weren’t up by more than one by halftime. [Laurentian] readjusted in the second half and were much more solid defensively, but Nicki grabbed her opportunity and we only needed one more to make sure we had the game under our belt.”
PLAYER OF THE MATCH
KRISTIAN KLETKE (BLUES)
A constant threat to the Laurentian defence in the Varsity Blues’ front four, Kletke eventually got her name on the score sheet and put on a solid performance throughout the rest of the encounter. “The team came ready,” said Kletke. “Our next game is coming up fast and will be more competitive, but we have the day off tomorrow and will physically recuperate and prepare ourselves mentally.”
U of T’s Varsity Blues faced UOIT on Sunday in the quarterfinal.